Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Boys wading in water. Nigeria. Courtesy of Tired Earth
I've been thinking about home a lot lately, and what a future of increased climate stress might mean for it. When I visited Nigeria in February 2018, it was the rainy season, which tends to hit the south a bit earlier than other regions. I witnessed people wading knee deep in the streets trying to get to their next destination. I thought, is this the norm? Who knew what kind of health risks lurked in the murky water? Where on Earth was the storm water infrastructure? Ironically, "Environmental Day" was approaching, where residents are encouraged to take time to clean up and beautify their compounds....
Northern Nigeria is most vulnerable to climate change because of a combination of desert encroachment, reduction in surface water, loss of wetlands, and its dependence on climate sensitive agricultural activities. Within southeast Nigeria, the Niger Delta region is the most vulnerable, with sea level rise, increased precipitation, erosion and coastal flooding threatening to displace many.
I anticipate this strain on land and water resources to instigate more internal conflict in the future. What this looks like to those on the outside, especially the in Western World, is Nigeria just being Nigeria, instead of a country ravaged for centuries by environmental violence brought on by those who continuously loot our land and our people. "The level of public awareness on issues related to climate change in Nigeria is considered to be low", so the first step in increasing resilience is to increase access to knowledge about what climate change is, how it impacts Nigeria, and how they can adapt...
I guess I post all this to say, I'm worried. Worried for my BIPOC family. It's a big task and I can't do it alone. I need help.
Source: Haider, Huma. (2019). "Climate change in Nigeria: impacts
and responses". View article here.